LaWanda Martinez

Advanced Radiology on April 4 that informed me I needed to return for more testing. They set it up for me to come in that following week on April 11. After multiple scans, I was told I needed a biopsy, which was scheduled to be done on May 30. (I had a vacation planned and my doctor advised that I should not change my plans to have the biopsy done sooner.)

On June 3, 2019 at 5:45 pm I got a call while I was out shopping for my youngest daughter’s 8th grade dance dress and I was told that I had a ductal carcinoma in my left breast. I felt like I was about to pass out. I was struck with the thought of my mother, and how she passed from pancreatic cancer 11 years ago. I just could not believe what I was hearing. I tried to stay as calm as I could and immediately called my sister who is a breast cancer survivor. She was keeping me calm and telling me everything was going to be okay, and that she believed I could fight and survive this. After I talked with my sister, I sat down with my husband and told him the news. He told me that God was on my side and
that he will get us through this. Next, I spoke with my daughters. They were heartbroken but told me that they were here for me. As the weeks went on, I slowly came out and told the rest of my family members, who all stood by my side as I began this long journey.

On July 23, 2019, I had a bilateral (double) mastectomy. I was terrified but tried to stay as calm as I could. The surgery was rough, and afterward, I was in an excruciating amount of pain. If it were not for two of my daughters and my mother-in-law, I do not know how I
would have made it through those tough weeks.

When I awoke the morning of August 18, I was getting ready to go back to work when I felt something dripping from my left breast. My doctor was out of town, but we had a Face Time call and he told me that my left breast was infected, and I had to have an
operation to have the tissue expanders removed. On September 26, I found out that my right breast was also infected, and that I needed to have a nipple removal. I then had to start seeing a radiologist weekly, because I had developed a seroma in my right breast.

July 17, 2020, I went in to have Diep flap reconstruction surgery. On August 20, my abdominal incision had opened. The following week, on August 27, I went back into the O.R. and was later put on a womb vac. I remained on the womb vac for two months, with three-times-a-week home visits from a nurse. Finally, on December 30, 2020, I went back into surgery to have fat transferred for revision of my breast reconstruction surgery.

survived 3-plus years of breast cancer and have come to realize the importance of life and the many joys that come with it. I am grateful for my family and friends, and after my difficult fight, I am glad to be alive. I will keep spreading the word about the importance
of an annual mammogram and continue to help women fight and beat breast cancer.


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